|Friday, 30 November 2001|
Ranil's three challenges!!!
Ranil Wickremesinghe at a meeting held last week had said, that he is faced with 3 challenges (a) Restoring the economy (b) Ending the war and establishing peace and (c) To put an indisciplined country to correct track where the rule of law has totally collapsed.
He added that the late Mr. Premadasa had only one challenge and that was stopping the war. Ranil should also have said that to stop the war Mr. Premadasa had talks with the LTTE, and there delegation was given free accommodation at Hotel Hilton, food of their choices, free international direct dialling with phone bills alone exceeding Rs. 100,000 a month etc. The LTTE also gifted with brand new T-56 weapons, truck loads of ammunition, vehicles, tonnes of cement, Rs. 20 million in cash and so on. Two months after these were issued, the LTTE used the same equipment against the Sri Lankan Army.
Not to be outdone by his leader Mr. Wickremesinghe has now made some secret deals with the LTTE. It has also now come to light that the LTTE had given the UNP millions to buy over PA members.
With regard to the link between the UNP and the LTTE the Hindustan Times of May 21st in a report titled, "The LTTE on a major psychology offensive" declared "The UNP, Sri Lanka's main opposition party, also seems to be party to the bid to create a defeatist mentality by cynically or unwittingly becoming a conduite for LTTE fed news..." And last week, Mr. Maheswaran, chief candidate of the UNP said, "... the struggle by the leader of the Tigers, Prabhakaran and all the sacrifices made for its progress would be demeaned internationally if EPDP members are elected to Parliament from Jaffna..."
Mr. Maheswaran seems to have forgotten that it was the UNP key players who set fire to the Jaffna library which had a rare collection of books on Tamil culture and it was the PA Government which subsequently rebuilt the library. He should also note that it was the UNP which created the environment for the "Black July" communal riots in 1983 which led to the burning of Tamil homes, shops and people. The people in the North and the East may realise that the UNP, despite their hue and cry has so far not shown their credibility by presenting any concrete alternative constitutional reforms to solve the ethnic conflict, except proposing piecemeal approaches. And the paradox is that Ranil sabotage the draft bill presented by the PA after having given his consensus to 80 per cent of the reforms.
With regard to his comments to put an indisciplined country to the correct track we wish to say that during the last seven years there were no "Black Cats" and death squad's hovering around in the night knocking on people's doors. Those who became victims of their stealthy manoeuvring ended up in 'torture chambers' at Batalanda or disappeared without any trace. Even though Ranil and his acolytes would like to see the Bheeshanaya era back in the country, peace loving people have turned down Ranil's offers as they are sick of tyre pyres, unexplained disappearances and so on.
Whenever there was an election Ranil's offer to restore the economy is nothing new.
What is surprising is that at this election so far he had not promised denim jeans, trailer bikes, stereos, chewing gum, gold bangles, necklaces and so on to young men and women!
During his speech, he had also said that women in Sri Lanka are relegated to the back seat with unequal treatment, disrespect and harassment. He ensured equal status for women. However, during the last election he stated that he would hand over the Sri Lankan President to Prabhakaran, a megalomaniac, who had failed to assassinate her so far.
Early this year, during the UNP protest march from Kandy to Colombo led by Ranil, a woman participant, wearing a fake eye patch and described by the marches as the 'President', using abusive langauge stunned onlookers. To humiliate the injured is not done. This was in fact, an insult to women in general. And a couple of weeks ago one of his strong supporters said at a meeting that when the UNP comes to power they will make the President walk the streets in her 'panties'! Is this the type of equal treatment Ranil is offering to women?
Ranil had more than seven successive election defeats so far and therefore it is time for him to bow out gracefully. He is living in a dream land.
DR. P. A. SAMARAWEERA ,
Produced by Lake House